Call to tackle needs of unpopular groups

Efforts to tackle social exclusion must focus on “unpopular” groups if the government is to make more progress, the chief of a Labour-linked think-tank has claimed.

Nick Pearce, director of the Institute for Public Policy Research, said the government had so far concentrated on “groups the public care about”, such as children and older people.

But more effort was needed to address the needs of groups such as young men, he said in his response to a lecture by local government minister Phil Woolas.

Woolas said the number of adults and pensioners experiencing five or more types of disadvantage had fallen by more than one million, adding that the sharpest falls had been among those aged 16 to 34.

He said it was important that the billions spent through mainstream public services, rather than the millions in regeneration programmes, addressed social inclusion.

“People already living outside mainstream life sometimes do not want to be further stigmatised and excluded by creating separate initiatives for them,” Woolas said.

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